Belief high in Chiefs camp ahead of final

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Coach Clayton McMillan highlighted that after Saturday's game when he said, "I think you saw that [belief] outside there today from a pretty inexperienced side that played against a side that they probably had no business playing against, but they were right in it and it will be no different next week."

 

The Chiefs respected the fact the Crusaders had set the benchmark. They were intimidating on their home turf, but he said, "We go down there confident. We don't put them on a pedestal we just go down there and it's man-for-man, team-for-team, on the day.

 

"I've seen plenty of upsets in the past and you might see one next week," he said.

 

The Crusaders were a clinical team who had finals rugby in their DNA and knew how to push buttons at this point of a season but if the Chiefs played to their ability they could beat them.

 

McMillan said he could not have been prouder of the Chiefs effort, especially being in the game at 19-22 down with eight minutes left.

 

"There were young kids getting their first taste, they didn't get everything right, didn't get the 50-50s go our way this week so it's all good learning and as a squad we will be better for it," he said.

 

There would still be value in reviewing the game, especially for those younger players who stood to learn so much of the process that could be valuable for them in future.

That was especially when being two or three points down late in games and learning to win from those situations.

 

Players had pushed themselves into consideration for next week's final against the Crusaders.

 

"We'll have a good look at the footage and have some tough decisions, I imagine, to make this week," he said.

 

In his first season as a Super Rugby coach, in his interim role in Warren Gatland's leave of absence to coach the British & Irish Lions, McMillan said he had enjoyed the experience.

 

The increased pressures at Super Rugby level did not seem too much different from his other coaching experience.

 

There was more media scrutiny but there was also more support staff, more coaches which left more time to focus on his role while asking the same of everyone else.

 

"I've enjoyed the ride," he said.